Written by : Jack Furness & Dave Burke
A council has come under fire after unveiling plans to fine homeless people up to £1,000 if they put up a tent.
Hanging around in public toilets could also earn rough sleepers a heavy fine under proposals being weighed up by Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
A homelessness charity has hit out at the plans, which ban tents from two parks and the city centre, but businesses have welcomed the move.
Charity Help for the Homeless voiced its opposition to the proposals, the Stoke Sentinel reports.
It says rough sleepers already endure regular violence, and have been urinated on in cruel attacks.
Founder Jeannette Jackson, aged 51, said: “At least if they have a tent they can hide away safely and get out of the winter elements. They are human beings and have had bad enough lives already.”
The new power would make it an offence to ‘assemble, erect of use’ a tent.
The proposed Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) will cover the city centre, Hanley Park, Festival Park and the neighbouring Octagon Retail Park.
It will see fines issued for:
- The drinking of alcohol in public places;
- Persistent or aggressive begging;
- Hanging around in public toilets despite not going to the loo;
- Assembling, erecting, occupying or using a tent.